Celebration of ben Laden’s Death Makes Me Uneasy

Call me a screaming liberal, or terribly naive, but the celebration of Osama bin Laden’s killing makes me terribly uneasy.

Yes, I know he was largely directly responsible for the tragedy of 911. It’s tempting to get into the arguments about how the attack might have been avoided, or how ben Laden might have been captured and tried. It’s also tempting to decry the wars that G.W. Bush started, and I do, but I don’t think that’s the point of what I’m feeling.

Maybe it’s the fact that our military killed him, in a dangerous, brave, and sanctioned attack that at a minimum should raise questions about government sanctioned killing.  I keep feeling like we should be better than that, that we could, if we worked at it, find less violent solutions.

Then, when it’s announced over and over again that we should all be on super-alert in case of retaliation, I’m convinced that what the result with this event will be in unknown.

I’m not the only one who is uneasy. Kevin Eckstrom of the Religious News Service posted Is it OK to cheer Osama bin Laden’s death? There Christian ethicist Diana Butler Bass asked:

“What if we responded in reverent prayer and quiet introspection instead of patriotic frenzy?” she posted on Facebook. “That would be truly American exceptionalism.”

My internal response to this statement is a loud YES!

There was a moment following the collapse of the Twin Towers that the world was united in horror and in a desire for, I think, world peace. I don’t know if that moment was squandered or just couldn’t be sustained. For many I know it was a moment for the kind of quiet introspection Butler-Bass asks about.

Maybe we can pause and realize that if we ever needed to be in Afghanistan, that reason is now gone, or dead.

A move to get out of Afghanistan now has started. I’m for it. Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, D-Maine has started a petition to that effect. I’ve signed it.

Signing a petition is such a small thing, but it is a start.

I’m also going to continue my ‘quiet introspection.’

How do you feel about ben Laden’s death?

Love and blessings,

Anne Wayman: When Grandmother Speaks

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Cathy Miller May 3, 2011 at 6:19 pm

Like you, Anne, I too, feel very uneasy. When I heard about his death, I did not feel joy. I got quiet and it brought back that terrible day of 9/11. For a moment in time, people were united in shock and pain. I was working in downturn LA at the time and remember the numbness of driving to work. People were kind to one another. Sadly, it did not last.

Uneasy is the perfect word to describe my feeling when I saw people cheering.

ellie May 3, 2011 at 6:52 pm

When Americans cheer and celebrate the death of a reputed Muslim leader–no matter the supposed sins of said leader–it makes them no better than the Muslims who cheered when the twin towers came down. Hate begets hate. The law of unanticipated consequences has a long reach. I think we may rue the day. I hope I’m wrong.

Jacquelin Erwin May 4, 2011 at 5:29 am

Oh my goodness – thank you Thank you! I too am saddened by such a public display. It feels like a movie of a darker time when people cheered at gory bloody public executions. Have we come no closer to Eden? “We’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden!”
I am saddened by my brothers and sisters toxic rage. Of course we want to stop a cruel person and an evil regime. But with more violince? When will it end? For me it must end right here, right now. I must love my brother as myself! I must send love to all who are hurting.
I too feel the need to be quiet and go within and ask for a true healing! Ho oponopono! Please god help me see my part in all of this and pull the thorn from my own eye!
“No man is an island entire of itself … If a clod be washed away by the sea Europe is the less … Every man’s death dimishes me” Truly! I rejoice in no one’s pain – in no man’s death. But I am very sad at the hatred and ager we still carry and hurl at our brothers.
“Why, do we kill people who are killing people to show that killing people is wrong? It’s such a foolish notion!”

I feel deeply sad when I see people celebrating in the streets. I can hardly express why. I just know it is not what we want in our hearts. It is not what we came here to do. We have lost our way a while and must find our way home!

And … It seems a bandaid on a gaping cavernous wound. Worse –
We are still projecting the enemy outside of ourselves and it does nothing to address the real problem. The problem is never the other guy. Even now – my probelm is not “them.” We are a people who still think war and killing is the answer. It perpetuates a dark dream. we must wake up!
I take full responsibility! I know if I believe I see chaos it is still and always a projection of the chaos in my own mind. But my mind is ONE with ALL that IS – and there is no chaos in the mind of God. Therefore I must be mistaken!
Mother, Help me to see where I have been hateful. Help me to see where I have celebrated anothers misfortune. Help me not to judge but to lovingly cast light on it all – to release judgement – to truly forgive.
I surrender – again I come to you with wholly empty hands. I know nothing. Show me the way!
Bless my sistersfor daring to speak!

annew May 5, 2011 at 6:50 pm

Cathy, glad I’m not the only one who remembers those moments of kindness… probably, I hope, lots of people do! I was living on a boat beside the San Diego Airport – the days of silence were wonderful.

annew May 5, 2011 at 6:51 pm

I hope you’re wrong too Ellie.

annew May 5, 2011 at 6:52 pm

You’re welcome Jacquelin.

Rosaleah May 22, 2011 at 11:29 am

I was horrified by the 9/11 attacks, dismayed by the government’s response to them, and saddened/dismayed/horrified again by Osama bin Laden’s killing and the dancing-in-streets response.

Violence begets violence. Yet again.

annew May 24, 2011 at 6:02 pm


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